Saturday, August 8, 2009

Health Care Choice is Complete BS

I recently had the displeasure of encountering a flock of rich libertarians in activist mode. These people think they are god's gift to the world... And they were there to oppose any incremental advancement in health care that would make it more accessible to more people. They were smug, very smug. They talked "at" you, not "to" you, and they talked very fast, and were for the most part yuppies who rarely smiled.

The part that bothered me the most about this certain flavor of pot smoking Republicanism in action is the incessant prattling on about "Choice" in health care. We get to "choose" our own doctors, and therefore, it is OK that a majority of bankruptcies today occur because people can't afford to pay their health care bills.

When you have a medical emergency, and you call 9-11, do you *choose* which phone operator you respond to? Do you get to pick from one ambulance crew over another? Do you even *choose* which hospital they take you to?

When you're howling in pain do you *choose* which crazy painkillers they inject in your arm? How about later, while you're lying there in your morphine induced bliss, do you *choose* the name of the doctor who is going to cut you open and take your appendix out?

You don't choose any of this. It would be as absurd for that to happen as it would be for you to get to think about it and *choose* which neighboring city's fire department is the "best" one to invite over, while your house is burning down in the mean time. And if, heaven forbid, I come home to see someone breaking into my house, I want the CLOSEST policeman possible to come over as fast as he can. I don't *choose* which officer I want to send over.

There actually used to be many competing, all-volunteer fire departments in a lot of cities, who provided the only fire services. They were shut down and replaced by the modern system because of their amateurism and inefficiency.

If you are sick with a mysterious sore throat in a city you haven't been to before, how does health care "choice" work? Well, it doesn't. You go into a gas station and you ask, "Where is the nearest hospital or minor emergency clinic", and you go to where they tell you. When they write you a prescription at the hospital you ask, "where the the nearest pharmacy I can get this filled at?" and you go where they tell you.

If you need to see a specialist how do you *choose* it? You probably go to google and type "dentist", "urologist", "dermatologist", or whatever it is you need and the city you live in. Then you go to where ever it tells you.

All this talk about "choice" is total crap. It's a FETISH invented by people with too much money and no lives for whom the only thing that fills their void at all is to go out and buy stuff. If you ask them if the same principle they are trying to apply to health care should also apply to the fire department or the police they look at you with blank, vacant looks.

What about other emergency services? How about the military? I don't see any of these "pro-choice" republicans out there complaining about how those god damned government trained and hired nuclear missile silo workers are lazy and incompetent, or how aircraft carrier radar crews and A-10 pilots do a bad job because they're employed by the government.

One of them had a sign that said "If you like the post office, you'll love public option". What the hell is that supposed to mean? I LOVE the post office. I have been using it for years. You can drop a letter anywhere in the country in any of those blue boxes and it will arrive anywhere else in the country GUARANTEED. Every single day a post office worker comes right to your house and brings you the mail. It's so reliable no one ever worries about paying their bills or sending out pay checks through it. I might also ad that the United States' Postal Service is cheaper than private companies UPS and Fedex, and that at the post office near me, at 16th and Marion streets, I've never had to wait in line more than 5 minutes. They even come up with some pretty creative stamp designs.

I've NEVER waited at ANY private hospital or doctors office shorter than I've waited at the USPS post office.

The scare campaign by these people is total crap. The bottom line is that they are rich and they are terrified that some of the taxes levied on their yachts and mansions and expensive cars and rock climbing equipment and Whole Foods purchases is going to help some poor, out of work schmuck like myself get a doctor's appointment or prescription filled. They same people seem to exhibit far less militancy upon realizing that their taxes also go to fighting endless wars, shipping weapons to friendly dictatorships that repress their own people, paying hush money to Governors' and Congressman's mistresses, keeping us the most heavily incarcerated country on the planet, or whatever else dumb program it is the government spends money on (space shuttle missions, while American kids go hungry at night?)

Single payer is the only solution to the health care crisis. If you need help, call the police, and have them come and help you. If your house is on fire, call the fire department and have them put it out. If you are lost in the mountains, call the sherrif's department and have them coordinate a search and rescue. If you are sick, go to a hospital, see a doctor, and get some medicine.

It's that easy for Congressmen. They all have single payer. And they want to keep it from us.

Insurance companies are the PROBLEM. They are middle men raising the prices on everything and their bureaucracy, lobbyists, and advertising empires take up a significant percentage of every dollar we spend on health care. In the United States we pay more money to cover less people than any other country that has adopted a "socialistic", health-care-for-all type program.

The struggle continues...

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